Monday, March 11, 2013

"Why Seek The Living Among The Dead?

 

 

The advice "Why seek the living among the dead" from Luke's Gospel, was given by the angel to three women.  Pretty important message to be entrusted to women.  Kind of hard to believe there are no women to be seen in Rome during one of the Church's most important acts.

 

With the Conclave starting in less than 24 hours I thought I might leave a post which is more uplifting than the ones about the corruption and the corrupted.  The following is the last part of an article by Jesuit Fr James Hanvey posted at America Magazine.  The first parts deal with the Church as it is and some the solutions to identified problems.  The following part, copied below, is where Fr Hanvey sees the Resurrected Christ reappearing on the Church's horizon.  This Jesus is not found among the dead and lifeless or those whose fears prevent them from love.

  

 Glimpses of an Emerging Church

At first these may seem rather internal concerns, but without them the gifts that Christ and the Holy Spirit bestow upon the whole community will always be frustrated. Running through the Second Vatican Council is the vision of an open church, attentive to the ways in which the Spirit is working in all aspects of human endeavor, its political, cultural and religious traditions. At the heart of the council’s vision is a vital but simpler church that lives out of the Trinitarian mystery. The miracle of its sacramental life renews this church and makes it less an institution and more a familiar mysticism of presence, persons and communio. It is a church where communio finds daily expression not in retreat from the suffering, violence and injustice that mark the world, but in a profound loving solidarity with it; a communio of love that is primarily at the service of the poor, weak, forgotten and abandoned.

Here the Euro-American centrism of the church must give way to the church emerging in the developing world, which will constitute the majority of its membership by the end of the next papacy. It must give voice to their concerns, which are often far from those of the secular West. It must raise its voice against exploitation in defense of economic and social rights, especially the basic rights of human life and the rights of women and children. Now is the time for the church to discover its prophetic voice on behalf of the developing world, especially its vision of ecological justice and the care of natural resources that all members of the human family can enjoy and cherish now and in the future as the gift of God’s good creation. This church is not afraid of the world; nor is it afraid to be poor before it, because it knows that it does not need worldly power to achieve its goals. It is prepared to spend itself in service—recognized and unrecognized; it is not preoccupied with itself or its own survival but has the needs and the future of humanity as its task.

It is a church that follows the incarnate and risen Christ into all the depths of history and the empty places of the human heart, and always with love. Living from the truth of Christ, it understands and cherishes the supreme gift of life in all men and women, whatever their race, religion, state or status. It rejoices in those structures, human as well as divine, which allow life—all life—to flourish. When the church lives this, then it lives most deeply its own sacramental life, offered without charge or contract to a secular world whose soul is slowly starving. Such a church can teach the evangelical counsels and the precepts with authority: how to share the resources of creation, live materially simpler but spiritually richer lives in solidarity with all women and men, reverencing our own bodies and those of others, rejecting all the ways of instrumentalizing and brutalizing creation and one another.

The council understood how only a church that lives out of a kenosis of love and joyous self-sacrificing gift can realize this vision. For such a church, secularization is not a threat but a call. It is not a utopian church or a church that has some dreamy, humanitarian ethic. Following the crucified Christ, it can never underestimate the reality of our wounded state, but it is not afraid to suffer for and with the world, living with all the tortured realities of our sin but understanding the quieter victory of hope, love and grace, “laboring and working” in the vineyard of the Lord until he comes. Above all, the church that the council glimpsed was one that knew that even when the secular world formally denies God, and informally ignores him, he is always present.

It will take a humble, free, mystical church to see this, to go even into the darknesses where God has been hidden or discarded. When it takes this next step, even on the Holy Saturdays of the secular world, it will find him where he is not expected to be; it will discover that there are many who bear his name and hear his voice. They have been waiting so long for the church to find them.

Maybe, as the church inaugurates a new papacy, we will not be afraid to love this church, as it is, as it desires to be, as God wills it to be. Maybe we will glimpse again the greatness of the church’s heart and mission.

30 comments:

  1. Colleen, I entered two responses to your article about God Father Sodano following this one...I wish I had read this posting first.....Fr. Hanvey's vision of the Resurrected Christ which is similar to my favorite of Christ as Liberator is indeed more hopeful of what the Church has the ability of becoming....but I see it as only a capability not as a present process....I am reminded in Fr. Hanvey's words more of the role of nuns among the oppressed people of the world rather than priests however...Fr. Hanvey's words do uplift and point us in positive directions but unfortunately our hierarchy have not been able to understand, imagine, or produce these goals even in the developed world......what is so glaring for me as I read his words is his silence on the primary role of women in the developing world in establishing this communio or kenosis of love...women with the help of some sympathetic men are going to be the only ones that can bring about the necessary change....my impression is that too many men in the under-developed world, Catholic priests included, are still enmeshed in patriarchy with its reliance on sexism, male dominance over women's lives, sexuality, reproduction, and children...unless women can gain economic freedom and independence from many of the cultural mores of their tribal societies they will not be able to establish this kenosis...what makes Fr. Hanvey or anyone for that matter think that the Church structure in the developing nations will all of a sudden be supportive of establishing the conditions that will allow this kenosis to occur...a jolt from the Holy Spirit would do it but that doesn't seem to be the way change was set up in the world.....secular solutions seem to have more power to effect change than anything we can provide....the RCC still prohibits birth control in over-populated countries where famine stalks the land, AIDS prevention by condoms is still frowned upon by our hierarchy, many reports have surfaced of wide spread problems with local RCC priests who sexually abuse local nuns, where inter-tribal wars are still happening - witness the Hutu RCC priests and nuns who participated and even lead in the Rwanda slaughter of the Tutsis - where papbili like Cardinal Tuckson and others support "Kill the Gays Bills" in African Parliaments...what indications are there to support a resurgence of Vatican II principles either in the West or in the developing world?....Vatican II and liberation theology are to say the least lacking adherents of any strength anywhere....Colleen, Fr. Hanvey is talking pie in the sky albeit sincere and positive sounding....to say "the Church must give voice to their concerns..." is hollow rhetoric it seems to me....who in this Church that we see now, here today leading this Church is able to give voice to "their concerns"?.....we can't even give voice to our own concerns within the strictly controlled structure of our Church as it exists today in the West....nuns are told to stop their own charism in serving the poor and concentrate on stopping birth control and gay marriage....dissenting theologians are banned, those supporting women priests are excommunicated and thrown out of their orders, and where is the spirit of Maryknoll and liberation theology today?...all suppressed by those who are not in the least bit interested "in giving voice to their concerns"....is Father Hanvey - or are we being honest with ourselves and others?.....tell me where you see the Spirit leading us.....or as Malcolm Boyd said once - "Are you running with me, Jesus?"

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  2. I too noticed the absence of the importance of women in his writing, hence the photo at the top. I suppose I get any hope I have from the fact Benedict resigned and that was a very significant step in restoring balance to the idea of the papacy. If change in Catholicism has to involved change from the top down, I don't know that there was a more important than to resign the papacy and reduce it to some extent to an important job rather than a private elevation to quasi godhead status. It's going to take some time for this to sink in. In one sense Benedict has validated divorce for the Pope. That's a huge change.


    I also know not all of the Cardinals are stupid or opportunistic ladder climbers. There are some good men. Unfortunately we in the US have not been graced with many of them, but there are some in the developing world and they probably do see that Catholicism won't have much meaning for their people if things don't change, not just in reforming the curia, but in the emphasis on what Catholicism teaches and how it lives out it's prophetic role. In Africa, it is, as it was here, the nuns who are leading the way. They have seen that the real key to unlocking the poverty shackle is educating women and getting them in the economic stream---and that includes planning the size of their families. This is going to take some time, but it happened in just forty years in Brazil--two generations. It could happen even faster than that in Africa.


    One other thing I take real hope in is that some Cardinals did speak to the role of women in the Church. It's finally sunk in: lose the women and you lose the next generation. They have lost the women in the West. The last two polls I saw indicate that for the first time ever, younger men are more religious than younger women. That's a statement because many of those women are in the 'spiritual but not religious' category. The question for the Church is how do you bring those spiritual women back into religion? It won't happen by bashing their gay children, brothers, uncles, nephews or letting men skate entirely free on the birth control and abortion issues.


    I do however have to admit, if the next pope is another profession curia member I will be soooo disappointed.


    As to where the Spirit is leading us, I think it's into the knowledge that we are eternal beings loved by God and that we find the divine with in. When we have a meaningful relationship with the divinity within we have the capacity to bring spirit into matter and reality changes. It may be that science leads the way into this knowledge and then we will truly understand that Jesus had it right all along.

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  3. Amen!



    We live in a world created by God, transfigured in Christ, and I so agree that our task is to be PRESENT - in LOVE.



    If the appointed shepherds fail, at least we have one another. That, in itself, is a blessing!

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  4. well done and said!

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  5. "Fr Hanvey sees the Resurrected Christ reappearing on the Church's horizon."


    BINGO and synchronisty ! For I see this too. I just so happen to be working on such a project, on the focus of the Resurrection of Christ.

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  6. I do not want to spoil this, but how can the catholic church, be great, become great if it ignores, refuses to allow women in positions of authority?
    Do we really think the abuse crisis is resolved?

    I can not go back to a church that refuses to recognize the gifts of women.

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  7. I will go back to Mass when the Church allows women to insist their husbands who are HIV positive use condoms. That's pretty minimal on the respect scale for women. To not change this, as Benedict insisted, puts women beneath male homosexual prostitutes, whom he did give a green light. I get the theology behind his thinking, but, oh my God, how much this thinking says women are uterus's in which seeds must be planted. I pray the next pope gets over this thinking.

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  8. If the Resurrection is a myth than Catholicism is just the same philosophy espoused by virtually every other spiritual system. I think though, that the fact all spiritual systems eventually espouse the oneness of all and the Sermon on the Mount is pretty fricking important.

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  9. "An emptiness which is also a channel for God's Love and Life. Spilling through us.' Frank Fool's Crow, a Souix Holy Man whose tradition I studied in, stated "We must become as hollow bones, for then the Great Spirit flows through us. Just like our breath through an Eagle bone, and that is why the Eagle bone whistles."

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  10. " Become a hollow bamboo " (Asian/Buddhist Tradition)

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  11. I don't think that the Resurrection is a myth and neither do a lot of artist that have been inspired for many many centuries to convey The Resurrection. I was amazed at the amount of art work on the theme of the Resurrection. There is a lot in common with the many spiritual systems for sure. http://minicasts.podomatic.com/play/3423203/6087681

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  12. I take this quote from another blog [http://iglesiadescalza.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-collapse-of-his-theology-main.html ]:

    quote

    It is not necessary for it to have many members. A few are enough, if they are pure and holy. Ratzinger incorporated this vision. He completed it with the following reflection: the Church is constituted by Christ and the twelve apostles. So it is apostolic. It's just this little group. It excludes the disciples, the women and the masses who followed Jesus
    unquote

    The writer says he is summarizing the theology of B16 and the reason for his resignation is that complete collapse of his theology. I haven't read enough of B16's writing to know one way or the other. But this... This goes radically against everything I was ever taught to believe about all human beings being Children of God and what creates a Church. If it is an accurate summary of B16's beliefs, all I can say is: It sure seems to explain a heck of a lot.
    Veronica

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  13. As I write a new Pope has been elected. Should be real interesting to see who they voted for in such a very short time.

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  14. Do you mean "If the [physical, revived body sort of] Resurrection is a myth"?

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  15. Let's see what happens now. John XXIII was also a humble conservative that tried to change things. Perhaps this good mind and apparently humble man will do a job that has not been done well since John XXIII and not done well for centuries prior to that. Time to wait and see!

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  16. Cardinal O'Malley will be Francis II.

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  17. I have had an ambivalent and somewhat frustrating Lent, more so when trying to pray about/for the process of electing a new Pope. Over the last few days I have been lighting candles and began thinking about what exactly I was praying for with regard to the election of the Pope. The word that came to me and has stayed with me is "humility". Selecting the name Francis as well as beginning his tenure in prayer let alone all the other "firsts" make me hopeful that a new era has begun.

    As always, Colleen, thank you for the hard work you put into your posts. I always come away with some important things to ponder. God bless you!

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  18. I am delighted that the new Papa Bergoglio chose the name Francis, Francesco. I can only hope and pray that he lives up to "il poverello" of Assisi and the example he gave to all of us.

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  19. More likely Chito Tagle.

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  20. Veronica, I can't remember where I read that sentiment of Benedict's before, but I have read it somewhere. So much of what he wrote as Pope dimly reflected what he wrote as head of the CDF. He really does believe that a smaller Church of true believers will secure Catholicism's future until it blooms again in influence and dominates the global culture. In the meantime it's enough to keep the numbers rolling in Africa and South East Asia. Of course what the Vatican doesn't say is the Church in Africa is not the Church of US trads--not by a long shot.

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  21. Yes, Agni, but I personally do not believe the Resurrection was a myth. I also don't think Jesus' Resurrected body would qualify as strictly biological material. He did walk through walls. What we call the Resurrected body may actually be a human form created from different energy.

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  22. I'm curious to see how much of EPBXVI's clerical wardrobe he chooses to use and whether he continues to live the same kind of simpler existence. I have some hope. I actually had a premonition the next pope would be named Francis I, but I got no hit at all on who Francis I would be. I think the name is significant. I think his choice of Secretary of State will be more significant.


    I bet Cardinal Burke is all a twitter wondering if Pope Francis is going to take a really minimalistic approach to all the TLM theatre and costuming. After all, Pope Francis is a Jesuit, not a drama queen.

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  23. Mr. TheraP read somewhere that when Pope Francis was elevated to cardinal, he simply had them retailor the cardinal robes of his predecessor. If he does something similar here, he might choose very simple vestments to recycle.

    The name is significant and as I wrote to you at Bilgrimage, I think the key to his papacy may be the voice St. Francis heard telling him: “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.”

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  24. Smaller church is one thing. Fewer numbers and more cohesiveness which make it easier some how for all the members to live a pure life. That was how I took it.


    But this quote indicates something more to me. Something perhaps bordering on gnosticism. It appears to say that numbers don't matter to B16 because only a select few have the truth revealed to them and/or are given the grace of God to live their lives in a God-pleasing manner. And you have to be a high-ranked cleric to get there. So women need not apply. Nor need any man who does not become a priest. B16's church is one in which God excludes His own children. He may go further than that by saying the actions of these few is the redeeming factor for all human beings. My efforts as a laywoman at developing some form of relationship with God are essentially worthless to God in this scheme no matter my acceptance of Christ or God, no matter my prayer life, etc. What a terribly hopeless situation for me to be in. I find no point to me living my life - might as well commit suicide. What an incredibly dark view for the vast majority of human being who ever lived.



    And this is the point in theology where I throw up my hands and decide the theologian is expanding his theory far beyond what his dataset can possibly support. Of course I never took Theology 101.
    Veronica

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  25. I don't think too many of us have accused Benedict of using 'date sets' in his theology. I told someone at work today that perhaps Bergoglio will allow at least a few theologians the latitude to write theology with a basis in twenty first century science rather than a twelfth century philosophy of natural law based on superstition instead of real biology.


    Your point about a sort of gnosticism is very interesting. I've thought that about some of the 'new movements' and I have to admit there were times during the 'Year of the Priest' that I really did think EPBXVI was going way too far in his praise for priests in the spiritual scheme of things.

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  26. Eagle bones have to be hollow, otherwise they couldn't fly; that's why they whistle.

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  27. That would truly be wonderful if this new Pope Francis will move the Church from within to a beautiful new life in Christ. The Church and the world so much needs this now. The Church was truly on its death bed until this new Pope. What a difference that a new leader can make in all of our lives. I am very hopeful Dennis.

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  28. I spent a lot of time reflecting on the Resurrection while making the above at the link above. I do not know why everyone here has ignored it.

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  29. I didn't actually process there was a link until I got this email. This is one of your best yet Fran. Speaking of which, what do you think of Pope Fran?

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  30. I am so happy & I am honored to hear that you listened and I didn't know if you were listening to any of my music or not, so it is a wonderful thing to hear that you liked it, Colleen! I am relieved actually. I thought maybe you didn't like it. Bless you, Colleen. Glad you clicked on the link. Glad I gave a shout out to ya.

    OMG, what do I think of Pope Fran? That's quite a name he picked. He is surprising. I hope he can tidy things up a bit to help make the Church a place where all are welcome at the table. That's the way Jesus would have wanted it.

    Again, thanks for the compliment.

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